After their confrontation in the therapist’s office where Lisa’s husband finally confessed to a prior long term relationship with a man, he moved out. Lisa had already filed for divorce and she’d pleaded with him not to make it difficult. However, she had no idea just what a mean and vindictive ex he would be. Here’s Lisa:
When we were married, he was Mr. born-again Christian, elder and active at church. He was always nice and in a good mood, and he was a good dad, even though he was emotionally absent. He was never mean but he lost his job a lot, he was unemployed here and there in big stretches. When he worked, he worked hard and brought home the money. He was good in those ways. He probably raised his voice at me three times in twenty years. We got along.
Then he moved out and he started everything. I could go on and on, but he was texting me eighty times a day threatening,
“Hope you enjoy your weekend, this is going to be the last one for you.”
My neighbors would call when I was at work and tell me his truck had been outside my house for four hours and they saw him climb in the garage window.
He went on my computer, and I always leave my email up because it’s just me and the kids, but he went in there and started emailing all my friends and family and his family, as if it was from me, off my account. Awful, horrible, disgusting things. So I had lots of people calling me or emailing me or cutting me off “why are you saying this?” I found out later, because I found them printed out in a box he had hidden in the garage. I realized then why all those people didn’t speak to me anymore. I lost several friends, my own sibling. It’s just been a horrible, horrible experience.
I’ve had three different restraining orders on him, which just blows me away. To even think I have a restraining order on the father of my children. I was just sobbing, you just think that’s other people.
He was put in jail one night. He had come into the house one night and I reported it to the police. I wasn’t in town. They went and questioned him and he said,
“Yes, my name’s still on it.”
They cuffed him at three in the morning, threw him in the back of the car and put him in a holding cell overnight. He had to make bail and he got a mugshot. Then when he came out, he was so angry. I didn’t think they’d do that, but they do. It’s a law on all domestics, a twenty-four hour cooling off period. So when I found that out, I knew he’d retaliate.
Then he would drive past my work, call my boss and say,
“This is a day your company’s never going to forget.”
They had to send me home and lock down the office. They had to get the police to patrol the lot all week. A week later I was laid off from the $72,000 marketing executive job I’d just gotten nine months earlier. They were like “sorry, we’re out of money” but I was just a liability for them, I knew that.
That’s what just the tip of the iceberg. He laid in my bed, urinated in my sink, took pictures of my boyfriend and I. Ripping up things, he stole my wedding ring. We found it being pawned off at a jewelry store in town, and he did return that, through the kids. It was just unbelievable.
He put a GPS on my car, electronically, so then I’d get a text wherever I was, saying,
“Oh, I love your red shirt, don’t you think it’s a little too low? Oh I see you got your hair cut, liked it better the other way.”
Freaky, creepy stuff.
So my kids, they would have been about eighteen and twenty by then, moved in together and I moved out. Three times I’ve moved. The fourth time I finally moved to Washington, D.C. just to have him leave me alone, and finally it seems to have worked.
I think he’s burnt himself out. If I would have known divorcing him was so difficult, I don’t know I would have done it. I think I would have sucked it up, it’s been that bad.
To this day, I am completely and utterly shocked that that is my ex-husband.
Very few people I’ve interviewed have said they would have rethought their decision to get divorced, had they known how their ex was going to behave. However, this is one of the worst cases.
I would imagine that there are times when you can guess that your ex is going to react poorly – I remember Pippi planning her exit for more than five years because she didn’t want to deal with the conflict that involving lawyers would mean. Grace is another guest who said she made sure she was out of town when her husband was being served because she knew the divorce was going to be hard and ugly.
However, as Lisa’s story shows, you can never tell and that means when you know you’re facing divorce, you have to protect yourself. I read this in articles from lawyers all the time. For starters:
- You need to open up a separate bank account so you will have access to funds;
- You need to change the password to ALL your accounts, including your email account;
- If you don’t have a separate email from your husband, get one;
- If you don’t have a separate credit card, get one.
I’m sure there’s lots more – feel free to add them to the comments. Lisa has a blog, Before You Leave offering tips and advice. Unfortunately, these don’t stop someone from putting a GPS on your car or threatening your employer.
Photo credit: Cali4beach